Thursday, May 10, 2012

Birds and Ships

Trying hard to live a meaningful life is not always easy.  It matters much more now to me than ever.  Since having little brother, I am constantly reminded at how huge the world must seem when you're a child, how confusing and overwhelming just leaving the house must seem.  I try to break it down into familiar, short, manageable outings.  We go to one store when we need something, to Big brother's baseball field, then home.  When I take little brother out I try to be aware of how amazing the world is to him.


He looks around, his head is turning and people are talking and he reaches out his hands and stretches his arms as far as he can-reaching-reaching-trying so hard to touch something, anything, as long as it is new.  Someone stops the cart, bends down, makes eye-contact with him. It's a new face, a new voice, a new smell. He is frozen and he has to soak it all in.  He looks to me for a smile. He sees a familiar face.  He realizes it's okay. Then we continue on our way and it is all different again.

No wonder the little guy needs three naps a day to keep from screaming his head off.  He must feel so stimulated.  If I hand him something he's never held before it is like his whole world stops. I watch as he examines it, rubs it on his face, against his gums, bites it. He squeezes it, bites it again, throws it. It bounces. It rolls. He screams. Startles himself. Wants it back. Reaches. Cries. Screams. Waits. I retrieve it. And now it's an old friend, a familiar sensation against his swollen gums.  He ignores it, turns to a new toy. Minutes later, he finds it and familiarizes himself with it all over again. An ongoing, incredible process. This happens with a million new items a day. (oye...the germs...)

All day for him, things change.  This is the human way, helping to educate our babies about the details of a world that never stays the same.  Every day, he and I visit the same toys and books, always moving and exploring but still taking breaks to look at each other's faces - a reminder that we are still us and we are still exploring this all together.  I don't walk away, not ever, because he doesn't know things can be unsafe.  He just knows things are new and he needs-desperately-to touch them.

I hold this experience for him very close to my heart.  It feels like a tremendous responsibility to be the tour guide for an entire world.  I don't want to show him the wrong things too soon.  I don't want to startle him or bore him or force excitement when he just doesn't feel it.


Watching little brother learn just how wide of an unknown expanse is on the other side of our little wooden front door makes me feel ashamed for ever feeling bored.  I feel dwarfed at all there is to see and experience and I wonder how I ever let myself have days that are stagnant, let alone weeks or (oh dear) months.  I realize that I need to try, in my own way, to be more like little brother.  The world has so much to offer.

We let ourselves feel restricted by material things, or the lack of them.  We think that if finances are tight, we cannot go, and so there must not be anything new to see.  We think that if our car isn't the newest, fastest, most rugged, that surely it will not get us anywhere we haven't seen a million times.  We think that-because our bank account is suffering - so must our desire to experience.  We forget to look under our feet, because we've walked the same route so many times.  We forget to look out our window because all of our possessions are strategically placed around them. When the television is placed between two windows, why look outside?  I say 'we', but really, I mean me.

I am not a perfect mother, but I am the perfect mother for my boys.  I find peace in knowing the Lord gave them to me, and me to them.  We were chosen just for one another, a perfect fit, and that means something very profound to me.  I watch little brother learn more every day, and some days it makes me sad that he is growing so fast.  Mostly, though, it fills me with pride knowing I am the one who will be the one to teach him so many things he will carry through his whole life.  I just hope I can remind him to do some of the things I forget to do.  To find meaning in the ordinary and learn lessons from the extraordinary.  To never, ever feel bored or uninspired.  To change things up if he has to- (Example: I'm typing this blog at the library!!) just never think you've seen it all.


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